There is a special bond that forms between soldiers. They learn to live with and accept each other; fight for what they believe in together, and trust each other with their lives. This bond can be defined as “family” in every sense in of the word.
25-year-old Chris Harris and the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division know this. That’s why when Harris got word from his wife, Britt, that he was about to become a new dad, he had all his army brothers and sisters right there beside him.
In July of 2017, Britt face timed Chris, along with the 82nd, who was stationed in Afghanistan for the exciting announcement. Together they received word that their family was going to have its newest little member.
On the call, Britt showed off a baby onesie which had the words, “Chris, you’re going to be a dad!” Chris was beyond thrilled at the news. The young soldier from North Carolina could not wait to be a father.
Unfortunately, Chris would never get the chance. Tragedy struck on August 2017, barely a week after the announcement. Chris Harris had been killed by a suicide bomber attack on a NATO convoy in Afghanistan.
Chris would never meet his child. Britt would never be able to see her husband smile again. And the 82nd would never have their brother back. Their family was dealt one of the worst heartbreaks imaginable.
A very large family
Luckily, just like the truest of families, Britt and the 82nd stuck together. They helped each other through the loss and pain. All through her pregnancy, Britt would give them all updates and share photos of the little one on the way. They would keep each other strong and Chris’s legacy alive across the thousands of miles between them.
Finally, when it came time to reveal the sex of the child, Britt wanted to surprise the squad. She sent the 82nd a bunch of confetti poppers with instructions to start recording as soon as they open the package.
On October 2017, they uploaded a video to YouTube with the following caption:
“August 2, 2017, Chris Harris laid down his life for our country. His newly wed wife was expecting their first child. The reveal is in Afghanistan with the men who fought by his side. We are happy to welcome the new member of our company.”
In it, the excited 82nd open up the confetti poppers to a glorious explosion of pink confetti. It’s a girl! The newest addition to the family is a girl. Everyone was elated, and they celebrated the reveal as if it were their child. They were happy, and they knew Chris was somewhere up in heaven celebrating along with them.
Britt decided to name her daughter after her brave father and on March 17, 2017, little Christian Michelle Harris was born.
As fate would have it, baby Christian was born on the same day the 82nd Airborne would get home from their assignment, just in time to welcome the littlest Harris into this world.
Britt wanted to celebrate the momentous reunion, so she wasted no time in contacting Kendra and Erin of Pinehurst Photography. The pair specialized in photographing military families in North Carolina honoring the service of their family members.
Together, they managed to take the most awe-inspiring, heartwarming and bittersweet family photos we have ever seen.
Around twenty soldiers from the 82nd participated in the event. Twenty people who lived and served with Chris Harris, who treated him like their brother, 20 people who came to share a special and memorable moment with baby Christian and welcome her into the family like their daughter.
If that’s not what family is, we don’t know what is.
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